Celtics delighted as Stiemsma shows his tough side

Celtics delighted as Stiemsma shows his tough side
March 13, 2012, 4:35 pm
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LOS ANGELES Greg Stiemsma is a pretty likable guy in Celtics Nation and with his teammates, seemingly always walking around with a happy-go-lucky demeanor.
But as folks saw in Monday's 94-85 win over the Los Angeles Clippers, Stiemsma can have a bit of an attitude, when needed.
On more than one occasion, he had a bit of verbal jousting with Clippers all-star Blake Griffin.
Both were given technical fouls, which spoke to some degree about how the soft-spoken 7-footer was not about to let Griffin push him around.
"You have to have flashes of it," Stiemsma said. "You can't play mad all the time, but I'm not going to back down from anybody, either. I don't care what position or situation they're in. So if I can come in and play physical, take a shot to the mouth, a couple shots to the head, if it'll help us win I'll do it."
Griffin might have had added motivation to go at Stiemsma harder than most young players. For a fleeting moment during the 2009 NBA Summer League, Stiemsma, then with the Memphis Grizzlies summer league team, was facing Griffin and the Clippers' summer league team.
Early in that summer league game, Stiemsma blocked a Griffin shot. And moments later, Stiemsma completed a 3-point play after he ran the floor and scored while being fouled.
When asked if he thought what happened in 2009 was a factor in how chirpy things were on Monday, Stiemsma said, "Maybe for him. I didn't have any hard feelings coming in."
After the game, Celtics coach Doc Rivers joked about how that was the "mean Stiemsma" we saw.
"It was great to see that," Rivers said. "He got the blocked shot. We gonna have to work on his trash talk a little bit. But it was good to see."
And timely.
With Chris Wilcox out indefinitely while undergoing additional tests involving his heart, and Jermaine O'Neal still contemplating retirement, every night is an all-hands-on-deck kind of night."We're small," said Rivers. "That's who we are right now. We just have to be a grind-it-out basketball team. All of our games are going to be tough."
And it appears as though Stiemsma is indeed up for the challenge even if things get a little testy
"You gotta have some of toughness in you to make this team," said C's forward Kevin Garnett. "Not only that, but to be in this league and sustain it. He's not a pushover; he's quiet. He had to be a man (against the Clippers on Sunday), and be tough. He did a good job of that."
So good that he received a technical foul, his second of the season. The first one, against New Orleans, was rescinded. Even though he does have a guaranteed contract that pays him more than 700,000 this season, 2,000 (the cost of the technical foul) hits him a little in the pocketbook.
"I'm hoping somebody will chip in for the fine," Stiemsma said. "We'll see. It's part of the game."